“He’s the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets.”

Please read chapters 18 and 19 of To Kill a Mockingbird.   Then write your response.  Please consider the following questions:

  • What themes are illustrated in these chapters?
  • What passage or passages support your opinion?
  • What questions do you want to discuss with the class tomorrow?
  • Why do you think these questions may generate interesting discussion?

Keep annotating!

Mockingbird blog #9

46 thoughts on ““He’s the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets.”

  1. A theme that is portrayed in these two chapters, 18 and 19, is the theme of wrongdoing to the wrong people. In chapter 18, Mayella Ewell is up for testimony. She declares that Tom Robinson took advantage of her when she asked him to bust up a chiffarobe. She wants the jury to convict him badly. However, Atticus leads her to tell the truth, where the possibility that Bob Ewell, indeed, was the one who beat her up rises. Mr. Gilmer, too, wants Tom to be convicted. He asks Tom question after question, pressuring him and calling him “boy”. Dill even starts to cry after this, proclaiming that what he (Mr. Gilmer) was doing was wrong. Although when Tom was testified, and we saw him as a honorable, respectful, guileless person, he is going to be convicted anyway, just because he is black, and he is being accused by a white girl. In one of the discussions I had today, we said that in the book, the innocent people were the ones getting hated upon, even though they had done nothing wrong. For example, Boo Radley. My question is, why did Mayella find offense in Atticus being courteous to her? Has everyone she met hated her? When Atticus asked if she had friends, she started crying, for goodness sake. This could lead to an interesting discussion. She probably has been neglected by her dad, and knows little of the outside world. What kind of a person does that make her?

    • Nice job, Jacky. I agree that Mayella has been extremely neglected. So much so that she doesn’t even know the meaning of a friend.

    • Great Job, Jacky! You included very interesting points in your response. I agree that Tom does seem very respectful and guileless, and Mayella could have been neglected by her family. Your analysis was great, as well as your writing. Keep up the great work!

    • A chifforobe is a closet-like piece of furniture that combines a long space for hanging clothes (that is, a wardrobe or armoire) with a chest of drawers. (Taken from Wikipedia

  2. One of the most noticeable themes in To Kill a Mockingbird is justice. By definition, justice is righteousness and absolute fairness. In the reading we did tonight, this theme is especially evident. In chapters 18-19, the focus is set on Tom Robinson’s trial, where he was accused of raping Mayella Ewell. As the plot unfolds, it seems increasingly likely that the defendant is innocent. Atticus cleverly gleans information from the witnesses to support this belief. However, the jury and audience are still against Robinson. No matter how obvious it is, their conviction that he is guilty does not wane. In this scene, the lack of justice for Robinson is apparent. In addition, Mr. Gilmer treats him with prejudice. The way he questions him is full of disgust and disrespect. Moreover, the theme of racism is also brought up from this court case. It is plainly that Mr. Gilmer treats him unfairly simply because of his skin color. “ ‘Were you so scared that she’d hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?’ ‘No suh, I’s scared I’d be in court, just like I am now.’ ‘Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?’ ‘No suh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.’ ‘Are you being impudent to me, boy?’ ‘No suh, I didn’t go to be.’ “ Tom Robinson answers his questions as respectfully as he can, but Mr. Gilmer behaves as if he knew for sure he was guilty, and treats him as if he was dirt (because he’s black). You could relate this to the discussion we had in class as well, how we talked about how even if you were of age and eligible for a title, you were still called “boy”. After this happens, Dill is even more disgusted and feels like he’s going to throw up. This tells me that Dill might be someone who does not have the same racist opinion that all black people are bad. Furthermore, Mr. Dolphus Raymond shares the same opinion, which gives us the reason why he hangs out around black folk. “I know what you mean, boy. You aren’t thin-hided, it just makes you sick, doesn’t it?” Overall, these 2 chapters heavily contribute to the themes of both justice and racism. (I do not have any questions I want to discuss)

    • Actually, you could inquire why Mayella wants to convict Tom Robinson. If what he said was true, and Mayella loves him, why would she want him to die? This could lead to further questioning, such as: Is Bob Ewell abusing Mayella, forcing her to try against Robinson? Or if he was the one who beat her up. All of these questions could lead to interesting discussion regarding the future of the novel.

  3. I’m not really sure if this could be a theme—
    Racism is a big part of these chapters and this also leads into morals. Mr. Gilmers morals are way different than Atticus’s when it comes to African Americans. Actually most of the town has Mr. Gilmers morals when it comes to this. Mr. Gilmers along with most of the town feel that African Americans aren’t equal. A few distinct characters that have opposite morals are Atticus, Mr. Dolphus Raymond, and Dill. We’ve known Atticus is completely against racism. Then we learned about Mr. Dolphus Raymond being married to an African American. But then we see Dill in these chapters cry after Mr.Gilmer is being mean to Tom Robinson.
    A good question would be
    What happened in these chapters? How do morals come into play? This is a good question because it recaps an important event and helps us interpret this event.

    • Interesting! I haven’t thought of the morals of the characters, and their own view of the subject! There are not many white people who don’t have anything against colored people. Keep up the good work!

  4. There are many themes shown in these chapters, but there are only two that I want to discuss: lies versus the truth, and sympathy. Let’s start with the truth and the lies. As the case goes on, witnesses are going onto the stand, saying their side of the story. We cannot be truly sure that they may all “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” It is up to the lawyers to unwrap the gift wrapper and bestow the real story, even if circumstantial. When Mayalla and Tom had gone to the stand, they both told completely different stories, saying the other had made sexual intercourse when they resisted. It seemed very worrisome when people started to decide which ones they believe was the truth and the lie. Using her sense of hearing, Scout could see that Tom did not seem to be lying during his questioning with Atticus. Yet, appearance can blind people’s opinions. Simply because Tom is a black man, there is a better chance that they would believe Mayella is telling the truth and Tom is not. Even is the truth is the truth, people seem to like to believe in the lie, even if they knew it wasn’t true. Next, sympathy is shown. When Mayella goes up to the stand, she tries to win the jury over by beginning to act like a victim and guileless, making people feel sympathy for her. Even Tom Robinson felt sorry for her, but not for supposedly getting beaten and raped. He felt sorry for her because he knew how lonely she was. Even though he was black, something that makes him scared, he felt bad for a lonely white woman that only had him for a friend. He seems selfless to think about her, and not about his own problems he’s been dealing with. I am hoping to find out what the concluding statement of the case would be, and how Atticus will finally finalize his case.

    • Great blog! I love the themes that you focused on. You really supported your claims and did an amazing job. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  5. A title of a book is an important thing as it usually has a connection to what is going to take place in the book. In the fantastic novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, the title becomes a theme. The book conveys a mockingbird as a representation for true goodness and purity. In chapter 18 and 19 of the novel, a lawyer named, Atticus is defending an innocent man with colored skin named Tom Robinson. Tom, in this case, is a representative for what a mockingbird is and Mayella Ewell, who is convicting Tom for raping her, is trying to shoot him dead. The mockingbird represents true goodness and innocence that should always be protected. Atticus is the one protecting the mockingbird and is trying to fight for what is right. Earlier in the book, it mentioned that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird and if Mayella is trying to get the mockingbird (Tom) killed, she is creating a sin. Since a theme is something that is repeatedly mentioned, we also see a mockingbird with Boo Radley, a man who everyone is afraid of when his is truly a good and kind man. With this comes the question, if Lee wanted the reader to make a connection between the two people who independent like a mockingbird? All in all, a mockingbird is not only the title of the book, but it is also a theme and a symbol.

  6. In chapters 18-19 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, many significant details about the court case are revealed. First and foremost, Mayella, daughter of Bob Ewell and alleged r-a-p-e victim, testifies by telling her side of the story. She is nineteen years old and reveals that her life consists of seven unhelpful siblings, a drunken father, and no friends. Atticus ponders her testimony and asks why she didn’t put up a better fight, and scream loud enough to bring the other children running. Significantly, he wonders how Tom Robinson managed the crime and bruised the right side of her face with his injured left hand, which was torn apart by a cotton gin when he was a boy. This brings up a great point, and could possibly mean that someone else had attacked the side of her face. With this in mind, Atticus attempts to get Mayella to admit that there was no r-a-p-e and that her father beat her. As a result, she shouts at him and yells that the courtroom, and bursts into tears, while refusing to answer any more questions. After that, it was Tom Robinson’s time to testify and tell his side of the story. He explained that he encountered the Ewell house on his commute to work and that Mayella often asked him to do chores for her. He recalls one time when she asked him to come inside the house and fix a door. As he entered the home, he realized that there was nothing wrong with the door, and he noticed that the other children were gone. Next, Mayella asked Tom to lift a box down from a dresser. Tom says that he indeed climbed on a chair as a favor, and out of nowhere she grabbed his legs, started hugging him around the waist and asked him to kiss her. Simultaneously as she struggled, her father appeared at the window, witnessing what had just happened. In response, Bob Ewell called Mayella a whore and threatening to kill her. In fear, Tom fled as fast as he possibly could. In my opinion, Tom’s side of the story seems much more realistic, and believable. Mr. Gilmer, the prosecutor points out that the defendant was once arrested for disorderly conduct and gets Tom to admit that he has the strength to choke the breath out of a woman and sling her to the floor. Mr. Gilmer proceed to keep firing Tom about his possible motives for always helping Mayella with her chores until Tom declares that he felt sorry for her. As Tom made this statement, the courtroom turned silent, because in Maycomb blacks weren’t supposed to feel sorry for a white person. Finally, Dill becomes very sad and feels sick in disgust to Mr. Gilmer’s rudeness of Tom Robinson during the testimony. I believe that it was Bob Ewell who had attacked and bruised his daughter after catching her with Tom. Although I think the chances are stacked against the Ewells, in terms of story and evidence, I wonder how the case will turn out.

  7. In chapters eighteen and nineteen, Atticus is able to show everyone that the Ewells are lying. Eventually, Mayella does not even want to answer Atticus. ““Then why didn’t the other children hear you? Where were they? At the dump?” “Where were they?” No answer. “Why didn’t your screams make them come running? The dump’s closer than the woods, isn’t it?” No answer. “Or didn’t you scream until you saw your father in the window? You didn’t think to scream until then, did you?” No answer. “Did you scream first at your father instead of at Tom Robinson? Was that it?” No answer. “Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?” No answer.” Many people in class have been asking the question “Why is Atticus asking all of these strange questions?” Every time Atticus asks Mayella what happened, she says a different variation of what she says happened. Then, when Atticus asks if it was her father that beat her, she started to scream and cry. According to Tom Robinson’s story, Mayella actually likes Tom which brings up the question “Why does she want Tom Robinson to be suffering?” Is she being forced? Is her dad involved? Does she just want attention. My prediction is that she did not want to be guilty of being impure and being an embarrassment to white women. If she willingly admits that she wanted to kiss a black man, she would be shunned and disgraced by Maycomb county. Also, this is a little off topic but why did Judge Taylor choose Atticus to defend Tom Robinson?

  8. A major theme projected in chapters 18 and 19 of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee is morality. When Tom Robinson is being harshly questioned by Mr. Gilmer, Dill begins to cry, and he brings up a very good point. He is crying because of the way Mr.Gilmer is treating Tom Robinson. He is yelling at him, constantly accusing him of raping Mayella even though he states that he didn’t at least 10 times. Scout explains to Dill that that’s just what lawyers do. But Dill points out that when Atticus was questioning Mayella, he treated her with respect and kindness. Scout says that Atticus isn’t like other lawyers. And she’s right. While everyone else in Maycomb thinks that African-Americans shouldn’t be given equal rights, Atticus does. He stays true to his own morals. This is an example of man vs. society, one of the many types of conflict. So, should Atticus stand up for the rights of African-Americans? On the one hand, standing up for your beliefs can get you into a lot of trouble. But if your beliefs are moral, then you just might end up dragging the whole community in a more satisfactory direction. After all, a community’s morals are the sum of what its individuals believe.

    • When writing your blog I like how you included he question about morality, it is clear that Mr Gilmer is harassing Tom Robinson with already answered questions in th least respectful way possible. I like your question son should Atticus stand up. However this is a lose-lose situation whether way something will happen that will affect Atticus’s life or African-Americans for the worse. Accepting that all people are equal is the only way to achieve a first world nation so until we get over this inequality we will be left behind and unable to morally progress.

  9. After reading chapters 18-19 I noticed how racism keeps showing its ugly head. During the cross examination between Mr Gilmer and Tom Robinson we can see how Mr Gilmer clearly doesn’t give Tom the respect he deserves. “But you weren’t in a fix — you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she’d hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?”
    “No suh, I’s scared I’d be in court, just like I am now.” “Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?” “No suh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.” “Are you being impudent to me, boy?” For the record Tom Robinson was acting polite and respectful, he answered all questions to the best of his ability and never tried to insult Mr Gilmer. However, Mr Gilmer seemed as if he was trying to provoke Tom Robinson by calling him “a big buck” or “boy”. The irony is that Mr Gilmer is asking if Tom Robinson is being impudent but in reality Mr Gilmer is the person showing disrespect. Mr Gilmer constantly acts as if he doesn’t know the racism and harassment Tom Robinson is going through. Mr Gilmer questions why Tom Robinson ran away from the Ewells property when he knows that if Tom stayed Mr Ewell would likely hurt him. When she is watching, Scout either doesn’t notice any resentment or animosity, or she acknowledges that as normal behavior. We know that racism is unacceptable and should not be tolerated but is it fine that Scout uses racist terminology and such i she doesn’t know better?

    • Great job, Devan! But, we can take in account that it is the year 1935, which is probably why Scout didn’t really say anything about the way Mr. Gilmer treated Tom Robinson, because discrimination was more common and acceptable back then. Great job, and keep it up!!!

  10. In chapters 18-19 of To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, I noticed that the theme of appearance vs. reality came up. Both Mayella and Tom Robinson are different from what they first appear. Let’s look at Mayella first. When she is first called up to the witness stand, Scout thought that she looked very fragile. “A young girl walked to the witness stand. As she raised her hand and swore that the evidence she gave would be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help her God, she seemed somehow fragile-looking, but when she sat facing us in the witness chair she became what she was, a thick-bodied girl accustomed to strenuous labor.”(239) Later on in her trial, Mayella appears to be crying and very insecure. This shows how she could look tough but be very soft on the inside, or quite the opposite. Tom Robinson, though is very big and bulky, and is used to working in the fields and doing chores. When he is called to the witness stand, he isn’t defiant or tough. Robinson sounds like a genuine innocent person who was accused of the wrong thing. He seems like he is telling the truth, and doesn’t break down crying for all to see. He and Mayella are very different on the inside than on the outside.

    • I noticed this after I posted my blog that Atticus appears to be the same on the inside and on the outside. He acts the same at home and around the neighborhood as the does at court. “‘He’s the same in the courtroom as he is on the public streets'”(266) This is very different from most other people, and isn’t necessarily bad.

  11. A theme that comes up in To Kill A Mockingbird often is discrimination. Discrimination of many types of people has been around for hundreds of years, and the discrimination of black people showed itself in Tom Robinson’s trial in chapters 18-19. First of all, it is possible that Mayella and her father might have lied about what Tom Robinson did, to cover up something else, and use him as a scapegoat. “Then why didn’t the other children hear you? Where were they? At the dump?”
    “Where were they?”
    No answer
    “Why didn’t your screams make them come running? The dump’s closer than the woods, isn’t it?”
    No answer
    “Or didn’t you scream until you saw your father in the window? You didn’t think to scream until then, did you?”
    No answer (p.250-251)
    This shows that Mayella might be making the story up and Tom Robinson is just to make everything more believable. It might be that Mayella and Mr. Ewell both were doing something wrong, and blamed it on Tom. My question is, will Tom Robinson still be convicted, even if he is clearly innocent just because of his race? Or will they step up and do the right thing?

  12. In chapters 18-19, we see more and more evidence that Tom Robinson is probably innocent. But, unfortunately because he is a Negro, he will probably be unfairly lynched. First, Miss Ewell is told to give her side of the story, which has some holes in it. She easily answered all of Atticus’s questions in the beginning, but when Atticus starts to aggresively question her in the end, she goes silent. Atticus asks her many controversial questions that could prove that Tom Robinson is innocent, and her response to this is total silence. Then, Tom Robinson starts to tell his side of the story, which actually involves Miss Ewell trying to take advantage of him. His side of the story in almost the total opposite of the Ewell’s story, but it is more believable. He doesn’t hesitate as much as Miss Ewell does when he is questioned by Mr. Gilmer, though he still does show some nervousness. Tom Robinson will still probably be lynched, but the way Robinson and Miss Ewell tell their side of the story make it seem that Robinson is actually innocent.

  13. I’m not really sure if this could be considered a theme, but accusations come up a lot in chapters 18-19. First of all the whole trial was taking place because Tom Robinson was being accused of r*pe (it wouldn’t let me post with the uncensored word). “I seen that black n****r yonder ruttin’ on my Mayella!” (pg. 231). There were also a few accusations during the trial. One accusation was made by Atticus. Atticus accused Mr. Ewell of beating up Mayella. “What did your father see in the window, the crime of ra*e or the best defense to it? Why don’t you tell the truth child, didn’t Bob Ewell beat you up?” ( Pg. 251). Another accusation was made by Reverend Sykes. He accused the whole trial as being unfitting for Scout. Judge Taylor used his gavel for five full minutes before the courtroom came to order. ‘Reverend Sykes leaned across Dill and told Jem that he ought to take me home,” (Pg. 231). Accusations come up time after time in these chapters, and without them many main events would not have happened.

    • I agree. I’ve never really thought about accusations before. I really liked how you pieced all of your information together. Good job on your blog!

  14. Chapters 18-19 went into more depth about the trial. A theme that kept came up through the chapters was loneliness. Mayella, the girl who was allegedly abused by Tom Robinson, was testifying that he was guilty. When Atticus asked her if she had any friends, she didn’t know what he meant and even took it as an insult. Scout was confused at first, but realized Mayella never had much fun, she was at home all day and seemed even lonelier than Boo Radley. “Tom Robinson gave his testimony, it came to me that Mayella Ewell must have been the loneliest person in the world. She was even lonelier than Boo Radley, who had not been out of the house in twenty-five years. When Atticus asked had she any friends, she seemed not to know what he meant, then she thought he was making fun of her… Nobody said, ‘That’s just their way,’ about the Ewells. Maycomb gave them Christmas baskets, welfare money, and the back of its hand. Tom Robinson was probably the only person who was ever decent to her. But she said he took advantage of her, and when she stood up she looked at him as if he were dirt beneath her feet.” This might be the reason Mayella and her father are blaming Tom. She doesn’t understand love and respect so she didn’t recognize his kindness, she just saw him as a n***er who would help her. She even grabbed him and hugged him, and Tom ran because he was scared of what the public might think. She must be suffering mentally that caused her to do this. A question for the class is; is Mayella’s father telling her what to say, or is she herself trying to throw him under the bus and is telling her father that this is the truth? Before these chapters, I figured Mr. Ewell was responsible, but Mayella might be making everything up. One thing is for sure; Tom Robinson is innocent.

  15. “Thomas Robinson reached around, ran his fingers under his left arm and lifted it. He guided his arm to the Bible and his rubber-like left hand sought contact with the black binding. As he raised his right hand, the useless one slipped off the Bible and hit the clerk’s table”(Ch. 19) I saw this excerpt from chapter 19 to be monumental, as it portrays how Tom Robinson would be highly unlikely to have been able to take advantage of Mayella. Not only this, but it shows how Tom has sympathy for people. This is more evidence of why Tom Robinson is most likely innocent, as he could not have held Mayella with one hand and punched with the other; Tom’s left hand is completely useless. Not only this, but the witness’ in this chapter are all treated kindly, other than Tom. Even though it is a cross-examination Mr. Gilmer still treats Tom in a very rude fashion. Overall I think that this entire case has been a way to show evidence of racism in Maycomb.

  16. From reading Chapters 18-19, we see how different characters portray purity or innocence. In a way, the mockingbird represents purity, and maybe it represents Tom Robinson. Tom Robinson is the icon of innocence in this entire novel. He has never done anything wrong and he is telling the truth. However, he is black, and no one will probably ever trust him. In this case, being trustworthy doesn’t help. Another small example of goodness per say is Link Deas. He is a white employer and seems to me that he is the only white adult (not including Atticus) that judges a person based on their character and not the color of their skin.

    • I agree with your response Anjali and you did a great job getting your point across. I like to believe in the good in people so I’m glad that you were able to see that too.

    • I just read your response and it is like what I said in my response. I definitely think that Tom Robinson portrays innocence in this novel. Great work!

    • Great job! The thought of innocence as a theme in this novel with relationship to the mockingbird never crossed my mind. However after seeing it, I realize it works perfectly. Again, great blog.

  17. A theme that comes up in these chapters is the theme of defending. In these chapters we see multiple times that someone sticks up for someone else and defends them. When Tom Robinson is on the witness stand and has to answer all of Mr. Gilmer’s rude questions, Mr. Link Deas gets frustrated that they are putting Tom through all of this, gets sick of it and stands up for him. In the middle of Tom being asked questions, Mr. Link Deas stands up and yells in the courtroom that Tom has never caused and trouble or harm in all the years that he has worked for him. Mr. Link Deas is a white man that has given Tom work and wants to make sure that Tom is treated better because he believes that he doesn’t deserve what he has gotten throughout this case and accusation. Another time this happens is when Dill gets sick about how Mr. Gilmer is treating Tom Robinson. Dill doesn’t yell it to the courtroom because he is just a boy but the does explain to Scout. Dill is also a white boy, but is defending Tom, a black man because no matter what color Tom is, he’s still a person and deserves to be treated right. These examples of being there for someone and standing up for what and who you believe in goes along with these chapter and the entirety of “To Kill A Mockingbird” (sorry I couldn’t underline). I’m just wondering now, how – if at all – will these two people defending Tom help his case and the way that others perceive him, will their actions be important to Tom’s future?

  18. During the activity with our groups, segregation seems to have always come up, even if it wasn’t what the question specifically was asking. The title of the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird really ties into this idea and the court scenes in chapter 18 and 19. Tom Robinson is being accused of raping Mayella even though it sees clear that Mr. Ewells did. Earlier in the novel, Atticus was talking to Scout and Jem on how they should never kill a mockingbird, because it never does them any harm, and because they are innocent creatures. African Americans in this novel can be seen as a mockingbird. They are innocent, yet they are still being hated. They didn’t do anything wrong, then why kill them, or treat them differently? This is what Atticus is trying to teach to Jem and Scout, and is the base for his beliefs and why he decides to defend Tom Robinson.

    “Did you ever,” Atticus interrupted my meditations, “at any time, go on the Ewell
    property — did you ever set foot on the Ewell property without an express
    invitation from one of them?”
    “No suh, Mr. Finch, I never did. I wouldn’t do that, suh.”

    Tom Robinson and other blacks in this novel clearly seem to be friendly and innocent, yet they are being shot at. They are being hated for nothing except on how they look which is what they cannot control.

  19. A theme that is important to me, and to this book is justice. Throughout my life, justice has been very important to me. Whether it be people getting punishment that they deserve, fair calls in sports, just overall fairness and equality. Which is also important to this book, shown in one way in the Robinson v. Ewell case.

    Atticus is defending Tom Robinson who is innocent to what the plaintif claims. Mr. Ewell claims that Mr. Robinson took advantage of his daughter, and Mayella claims the same. Even though Tom is clearly innocent, and everybody knows, he will still be found guilty. Only because he is black and the Ewell’s are white.

    Clearly justice was not present in Maycomb during this trial, because if it was then justice needs to be redefined.

    Something that I am curios about is if the people of Maycomb will actually think differently because of this case. Atticus knows he is going to lose and the only reason he is actually trying to defend Tom is because he doesn’t find it morally correct to not try and defend Tom, and also to try and make Maycomb County change their view on things. Atticus is a very good lawyer and is a respected man, I am curios if he was able to make an impression on the people of Maycomb.

  20. After reading chapters 18-19 of To Kill A Mockingbird, a theme made apparent to me is that of justice and getting what is deserved. This is shown towards the end of Chapter 19, when Scout has to escort Dill out of the courtroom as he is crying for some unknown reason. When asked by Scout, he says, “It was just him I couldn’t stand… That old Mr. Gilmer doin’ him thataway, talkin’ so hateful to him.” (page 265). This reveals many things about Dill’s character not previously seen. In the past, Dill has previously been shown as an immature character who just loved to fool around and go on adventures with the Finch children. However now, he is shown to have morals and in a much deeper light. He wants Mr. Gilmer to stop treating Tom in a disrespectful way, and he is so moved by this emotion that eh goes so far as to cry. Dill seems to want justice for Tom, as he knows that he is innocent. He even says, “It ain’t right, somehow it ain’t right to do ‘em that way. Hasn’t anybody got any business talkin’ like that-it just makes me sick.” (page 266). This clearly shows that Dill is favoring Tom as he believes he did not commit this crime. One question I have pertaining to these chapters is why Mr. Dolphus Raymond is lingering outside the court, and why Lee is focusing on him so much? I believe that this is a good question because it could lead to some interesting dialogue in class. I believe that Harper Lee is focusing on him so much because he might come to play a large role in the plot. In some way, he might be instrumental to the case, or be called on as a witness in court. Going into the next few chapters, it will be interesting to see how Mr. Dolphus Raymond comes into the plot and what role he plays.

  21. Themes of honesty and justice were highlighted in these chapters. When Mayella goes up there and spews hjer lies, she’s defense and doens’t seem truithful. As a reader you don’t trust the things she says and can’t empathize with her. But when Tom Robinsnson takes the stand he’s earnest and you can tell he is telling his truth. As a reader you want him to succeed and have the life he truly deserves. But with Mayella, who appears very dishonest, despite the fact that Mr. Ewell most likely abuses her it’s hard to sympathize with her struggle when she’s trying to get innocent Tom thrown in jail. Whereas Tom comes off as a genuine and kind person, and Mayella doesn’t really. Also the theme of justice comes up sort of in Dill. He recognizes at such a young age that how Tom is being treated and questioned by Mr Gilmer is isn’t fair and is an injustice.

  22. Both the themes of racism and justice is very much incorporated in chapter 18 and 19.This is mainly portrayed through the court trial so far. All the testimonies of the witnesses are in fact leading to the point that Tom Robinson did not commit the act of r***. It is more further incorporated that Mr. Ewell is actually the man who hurt Mayella. ““Then why didn’t the other children hear you? Where were they? At the dump?” “Where were they?” No answer. “Why didn’t your screams make them come running? The dump’s closer than the woods, isn’t it?” No answer. “Or didn’t you scream until you saw your father in the window? You didn’t think to scream until then, did you?” No answer. “Did you scream first at your father instead of at Tom Robinson? Was that it?” No answer. “Who beat you up? Tom Robinson or your father?” No answer.” Atticus was clearly thinking when he asked these questions and didn’t ask them out of nowhere. If Mayella was actually raped by Tom Robinson wouldn’t she be able to answer these questions easily. Furthermore when Tom Robinson testifies he portrays a more realistic version of the unfolded events. He said that Mayella forced herself on Tom and that her father came in and started to yell at her before Tom ran. Strengthening the fact that Tom Robinson did not in fact r**** Mr. Ewell’s daughter and brings in justice. The theme of racism is shown when the lawyer harrases Tom as he is answering questions. But you weren’t in a fix — you testified that you were resisting Miss Ewell. Were you so scared that she’d hurt you, you ran, a big buck like you?”“No suh, I’s scared I’d be in court, just like I am now.” “Scared of arrest, scared you’d have to face up to what you did?” “No suh, scared I’d hafta face up to what I didn’t do.” “Are you being impudent to me, boy?” By referring to Tom as a so called boy he is indirectly stating the opinion that he thinks Tom is not considered to be a man. The part that is the most touching about all this is when Dill cries about how Tom was treated. This was probably put in by harper Lee to show that not all hope is lost and that some people are against racism. In conclusion both Justice and racism are shown in the reading.

  23. Chapters 18 and 19 are very interesting with court cases being involved. Just a thought, it’s interesting that’s in both Great Expectations and To Kill A Mockingbird there is a lawyer who is the role model. However, Atticus appears to be winning his case, while Jaggers almost always lost his cases (or the ones we heard of). Whats interesting, however, is the way that Tom Robinson is being questioned. It appears that Tom is being very mature and cooperative, but there is nasty tone in Mr. Gilmer’s approach. On the other hand, Mayella barely cooperated with the questioning and she was treated better. Perhaps, it could be the difference in lawyers. Atticus is a much more sincere type of person it appears, so maybe he wouldn’t want to berate the witness. It is a factor to consider, after all, that he is defending a black man, and that black people would not have the upper hand in a court case. Or, maybe Mr. Gilmer is nice to his other witnesses, but not Tom. After all, it didn’t seem that he was so mean when he questioned everyone else. Perhaps it is one or the other, or maybe a combination of both. Just a few thoughts on the way this case was going!

  24. Themes that come up in chapters 18-19 multiple times are embarrassment and sympathy. Mayella shows embarrassment when Atticus asks questions about her having friends, and when he calls her “ma’am” or “Miss Mayella.” Tom showed embarrassment went he told his version of the event, specifically when Mayella kissed him.

    “‘Long’s he keeps on callin‘ me ma’am an sayin’ Miss Mayella. I don’t hafta take
    his sass, I ain’t called upon to take it… Tom Robinson had come to a dead stop. He glanced at Atticus, then at the jury, then at Mr. Underwood sitting across the room… The witness swallowed hard. “‘She reached up an‘ kissed me ’side of th‘ face.’” (pg 243 & 259-260)

    Mayella’s embarrassment is very different from Tom’s because hers comes from believing that Atticus was making fun of her, rather than being embarrassed by being non-consentingly kissed by someone with a much higher social class and worth. It is easy to see which embarrassment is more worthy of pity, though Mayella receives more pity than Tom. This is also another example of the extreme difference between black and white people in this book. Mayella’s embarrassment doesn’t even have the right basis, because Atticus was really just trying to be polite, but she still receives sympathy from everyone, even Scout. “I wondered if anybody had ever called her “ma’am,” or “Miss Mayella” in her life; probably not, as she took offense to routine courtesy.” (pg 244) I don’t mean to say that Mayella doesn’t deserve sympathy, but I am saying that Tom deserves more than her, because his situation can eventually lead to him being executed, compared to Mayella just being lonely. Embarrassment and therefore sympathy is what’s going to decide this case, and I look forward to finding out how it ends.

  25. Amidst all the courteous and polite addresses, the words Mr./Ms. Finch came up a lot, and it made me think of something. Throughout the novel, the image of a mockingbird appears repeatedly, whether to symbolize the townsfolk, the good folk, or the black folk (not that being black has anything to do with being bad or good). But a finch is also a bird. It is similar to a mockingbird in size, but tends to be in more extravagant colors. What could this symbolize for the Finches, and how does it pertain to the novel? I believe there is no one clear answer, seeing how such a broad question could have endless interpretations. This is exactly why it makes a proper discussion question, because it leads to an outflow of several interpretations to repeatedly change everyone’s views to take more into consideration in order to make the most educated interpretations.

    • This is such a cool idea! I think that the Mockingbird represents black people in Maycomb. Miss Maudie had said that you can’t harm a mockingbird because all they do is sing lovely songs for others. Kind of like how the black people don’t commit crimes, and are courteous people, so the townspeople should leave them alone. And the finch represents the Finch family, because they are similar to the Mockingbird, and Atticus believes in equality.

  26. A theme I noticed throughout these chapters was honesty. In chapter 18, Mayella is called to the witness stand, and she was very timid, cried on the stand, and wasn’t cooperating. We find out that Mr. Ewell was responsible, and that Tom Robinson was a victim to Mayella because she threw herself onto him. Tom Robinson, out of everyone calle to the witness stand, was the only one why described the events with honesty, and answered each question without hesitation. But his honesty almost didn’t matter, because Mr. Gilmer called him a “boy” and he was being nasty to Tom. And Tom’s statement, “No suh, scared I hafta face what I didn’t do,” is an important statement that relates to honesty and racism, and it makes me wonder what other crimes black people in Macomb were arrested for, even if they didn’t do it.

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